Darkroom Photography

Out from the Darkcloth - Intro to Large Format Photography

20 July 2019 - 21 July 2019
11.00 - 17.00
Brittonie Fletcher

This course provides an introduction to the large format 5x4 view camera. 

What does large format mean in photography? What is a 5x4 (4x5) camera? How does a view (bellows) camera work? Wait…can you still get plates for that? Isn’t that just a really old camera?  All these questions and more will be answered! 

Behold! A negative which has more detail and information than many digital cameras, high resolution, fine grain, big contact print. 

Course Outline

Day 1: Introduction 

  • Overview of course and Health & Safety 
  • Camera anatomy
    • Bellows
    • Lens board + Lenses
    • What's a copal?
    • What do you mean 'movements?'
    • Darkslides - loading and use
    • Lightmetering
  • Setup and first exposures 

Day 2: Film processing

  • Cover film processing methods - tanks vs trays
  • Process the exposed film 
  • Make contact prints to see our developed large format photographs!

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Eyes Open - Photography for 12-16 yr olds

1 July 2019 - 4 July 2019
5 August 2019 - 9 August 2019
11.00 - 14.00
Morwenna Kearsley



Take your imagination on a journey and experiment with a range of skills including digital photography, photograms and collage.

If you have an interest in photography and visual art and are interested in trying new things, then this course is for you. 
The emphasis is on having fun developing your own visual style and meeting other aspiring young artists.




Course Outline

Day 1:  Eyes Open

In this introductory session, we will think about what makes a great photograph and why. Then we will work out what makes your photographs particular to YOU!

  • You will be introduced to a Digital SLR camera and we will explain the manual settings, fully exploring how to capture light and time in a single image and make the perfect exposure!  
  • Using a series of famous photographs as our guide, we will visit locations near Stills to re-create these images and investigate the successful elements of the photograph’s composition.
  • You will then have the opportunity to make your own, entirely unique set of images.

Day 2:  Keep Them Open

In this session, you will have another opportunity to be 'out & about' making photographs using your digital camera. This is a chance to build on the work you made on Day 1 and focus on the aspects of photography that interest you most!
You will also have a chance to use and experiment with Adobe Photoshop to enhance your images and/or make some Surreal new compositions!

  • Practise using your camera on a manual setting and in combination with a tripod.
  • Learn about the Surrealist movement in photography.
  • Learn how to use Photoshop to make simple but effective changes to your photographs as well as using it to make strange new compositions in the manner of the Surrealists!

Day 3:  Back to the Future

Taking the photographic lessons we learned on Day 1 & 2, we will further investigate your particular uniqueness as an artist photographer!

  • Travel back in time before the invention of digital cameras and explore the magic of the darkroom.
  • Experiment with a camera-less technique called the Photogram which will allow us to make beautiful images using only paper, objects and our imaginations! 

Day 4:  Cut & Paste

Using some of your spare prints from Day 1, 2 & 3 we will explore and create a series of photographic collages.

  • Using cut-out techniques, drawing, painting, embroidery and more, we will transform your previous images into new and exciting works of art.
  • Experiment with making joiners, (a photographic technique made famous by artist David Hockney), where one picture is assembled from several overlapping photographs.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Project Day: B&W Darkroom Printing

7 July 2019
11:00 - 17:00
Morwenna Kearsley

A practical follow-up to our Introduction to Black & White course, this course will concentrate on building your printing and editing skills, teaching split-grade printing techniques, and giving you the confidence to start working in coherent series. 

During this workshop you will learn to print black & white photographs to a high standard and make a concise series of images with consideration to how we read the photographic image. We will look at the work of other photographic artists who work successfully in small series and as a group to critique and refine each other’s images.

**Please note: This course only covers the printing of images and participants should therefore bring previously processed negatives (either 35mm or 120) and if you have one, a printed contact sheet along to the session**

All materials (including a range of papers) will be provided.

Course Outline


  • Presentation and analysis of what makes a successful series of photographs, and how the final print can be crafted to accentuate the photographer’s artistic intent.
  • Re-cap of basic darkroom skills - including overview of the enlarger, cropping, dodging & burning, and layering of negatives.
  • Learn how to Spilt-grade print, (a more advanced technique to create a print with greater tonal range and control).
  • Demonstration of pre-flashing and controlled fogging techniques.
  • Plenty of practical darkroom time to work on your images and gain confidence in the new skills and processes.
  • Brief presentation of your work to the group to showcase the skills participants have learned throughout the day.



Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


Darkroom Photography: Intro to Black & White

2 July 2019 - 23 July 2019
18.00 - 21.00
Morwenna Kearsley

Any good photography is a successful synthesis of technique and art.” Andreas Feininger

Discover the magic of Black & White Photography and learn some of the secrets the masters use to make stunning photographs. Explore the fundamentals of light and time and no longer be a slave to the Auto setting. Master the manual functions of your 35mm SLR film camera and unlock its true potential. Get to grips with the complete darkroom workflow from processing film to printing your own black & white photographs.

Perfect for those with no experience or those looking for a full refresher. If you don't have a SLR camera we have a limited number of available for use during the course - please ask about availability at time of booking.


Course Outline

Week 1 Capture, technical notes, discussions, art context.
Understand the fundamentals of light and time in balancing an accurate exposure; No longer be a slave to the Auto setting! Know how to utilise the Manual functions of their 35mm SLR camera;Understand film types, film speed, depth of field, different lenses and how to use them creatively; Appreciate photography within an art context - Begin to look at the work of other photographers.

Assignment: You will be given a project and one roll of B&W film to be shot for the second week 

Week 2 Film processing:
Learn how to process B&W film by hand in Stills’ darkrooms. We will discuss different film types and chemistry, as well as best practice procedures for film handling.  Appreciate photography within an art context - Look at the work of photographer Nan Goldin

Week 3 Contact printing:
Gain an appreciation of general darkroom procedures; Experiment with photograms, learn contact printing and printing from negatives. All paper and chemistry will be provided

Week 4 Darkroom printing:
This last session will allow participants to keep on printing with some one to one attention. We will also explore some basic dodging and burning and other printing techniques to get the most from your negatives.

Stills uses ILFORD PHOTO chemicals on this course that can potentially pose a risk to pregnant and breast feeding women and asthmatics. 

 We take every care to ensure good working practices and adequate ventilation in our darkrooms. If you feel you may be adversely affected, please see below for links to the Safety Data Sheets on the relevant chemicals you will be using during the course, or visit the Health and Safety section of Ilford’s website for further information.

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking


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